Return to Blog

Celebrating 80 Years - The Right Care, the Right People, 1986, Sunny Vista Living Center

Tags: #Celebrating80Years



#Celebrating80Years: 2017 marked 80 years of working with Colorado’s nonprofits as they seek to strengthen their communities. Throughout 2018, we will be looking back on this history of the outstanding organizations and people the Trustees have had the opportunity to support. On the blog you will find a history of the Foundation’s grant making and a representative organization from every year since our founding in 1937.


With a legacy more than 100 years in the making, Sunny Vista strives to provide the older adult population of the Pikes Peak region with the best independent and assisted living services possible. From humble beginnings as a sanatorium, Sunny Vista now utilizes three unique and intertwined facilities to focus on every dimension of wellness for the senior population of Colorado Springs.


1986_building_pic resize 2.png

Grantee Spotlight: Sunny Vista Living Center

A long-standing institution in Colorado Springs, Sunny Vista began as a tuberculosis sanatorium.  Initially called the Sunnyrest Sanatorium, the original facility opened in 1911 through an endowment by Marjorie Palmer Watt, daughter of Colorado Springs founder William Jackson Palmer. The sanatorium served men, women, and children, and was run by five Sisters of the Kaiserwerth Deaconesses. The fee was $8 per week for patients able to contribute, but most of the money was raised in the community. When the threat of tuberculosis began to decline, Sunnyrest shifted its focus to providing long-term care to individuals in the Pikes Peak region otherwise unable to afford healthcare, ultimately changing its name to Sunny Vista to reflect this changing focus.

The overall mission to support the health and well-being of the community of Colorado Springs was a mission shared between Sunnyrest and the Penroses, and El Pomar honored this shared mission with its first grant to the organization (then Sunny Vista) in 1976 and a large capital grant in 1986.

Sunny Vista has continued to grow over the years and in 2004, the organization planned for the development of a 116-private bedroom facility to provide state-of-the-art services for Colorado Springs growing senior population. Embracing their core values of wisdom, courage, fairness, respect, and a positive spirit, Sunny Vista now provides services out of three different facilities: The Living Center, The Villa, and the recently completed Retreat.  All three provide unique and specialized services, such as occupational, physical and speech therapy, as well as additional activities and amenities to make every individual in their communities feel valued.


El Pomar in 1986:

The Foundation granted $4.4 million in 1986, with first-time grantees including the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, Children’s Museum of Denver, and the National Sports Center for the Disabled. The largest grant of the year was $1.5 million given to Penrose Hospital to construct a facility focused on Alzheimer’s disease.


Images courtesy of

Spotlight by Kyle Boyle